June 23, 2021

Syracuse freshman shine in team’s loss to Notre Dame on Senior Day

first_img Published on April 20, 2014 at 8:20 pm Contact Ryan: [email protected] While Syracuse spent an extended amount of time honoring its outgoing seniors on Senior Day, it was the youngest players who took the spotlight, bringing home the only wins on the day for the Orange.Freshmen Maria Avgerinos and Rhiann Newborn both came back from a set down to win their matches in three tight sets. Freshman Valeria Salazar won a singles match, and also beat the No. 10 doubles team in the country with her partner Maddie Kobelt. Even though No. 69 SU (5-14, 5-9 Atlantic Coast) lost the overall match 4-3 to No. 24 Notre Dame (15-8, 8-6), it was still special for the three of them to win alongside their best friends.“Very special for us three,” Avgerinos said. “We’re coming in as freshmen, it’s our first season. It feels so nice to end the season with a win, especially with my two really good friends on the team. Just really special.”While both Avgerinos and Newborn had to battle back to win their matches, Avgerinos had to dig the deepest as she stared down match point.She had lost the first set 6-4 and faced a match point at a 5-2 deficit in the second set. As Avgerinos struggled, she could not help but notice her excitable friend Newborn fist bumping and yelling out “Come on!” almost every other point on the court right next to her.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I was watching her, and she was really intense and fired up,” Avgerinos said. “She was just moving so well, and I was like ‘I probably should start moving a little better.’ She inspired me on the court today to move better and be more aggressive.”Avgerinos eventually was able to battle all the way back from that 5-2 deficit she faced to steal the second set 7-6, and she went on to win the third 6-4.That excitability that helped pump up Avgerinos has been a part of Newborn since she first started playing tennis, she said. It fits with her game style, as she seems to be looking to hit a winner every shot. This can lead to her having a run of unforced errors, but also to a run of spectacular shots.“If I hit a good shot I’m going to yell because that pumps me up,” Newborn said. “That just gets me ready for the next point.”Although Newborn and Avgerinos both impressed in their comebacks, it was their teammate Salazar who had the most impressive day and weekend.Against the No. 10 doubles team in the country, Salazar and Kobelt had a break point opportunity at 6-6. Salazar traded hard groundstrokes back and forth with her opponent until finding an opportunity to hit a soft put-away volley into the short corner of the court.Salazar was coming off a 6-0, 6-0 win against Wake Forest the day before. She said the confidence she gained from that match carried over to her success against Notre Dame.“I just play to win,” Salazar said. “Yesterday gave me so much confidence. I just played really well out there today.”Even though interim head coach Shelley George did not get the final outcome she wanted against Notre Dame, she was pleased at what the results might mean for this team in the future.“I think there’s a lot of promise for the future,” George said. “These guys have grown up under fire this season. They’ve had to step up in roles because of some injuries. They just keep getting better and better from match to match.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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